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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stories to Watch: 2/20/14

A juror reveals that the reason a jury couldn't agree on the first degree murder charge for Michael Dunn is that three of the jurors felt the killing was justified under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. Gun clowns have been insisting that SYG had nothing to do with it. As usual, they are wrong.

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King seems to have decided that now would be an excellent time to remind everyone that he's a racist dick.

The Tea Party-tinged Koch brothers front group Americans for Prosperity unveils an "Obamacare horror story" ad that is, of course, complete horsecrap -- which leads Greg Sargent to ask, "Why is it so hard to find legitimate Obamacare horror stories?" I think we know the answer to that one.

Clothing retailer The Gap announced plans to increase their starting "minimum" wage to $10 an hour. Their reasoning is simple: you get what you pay for. Better pay results in more invested workers. If you want people to do a good job, you have to give them a good job.

Talk about your hardcore sales pitches: Glenn Beck warns that if people don't buy gold from his sponsor Goldline, America will suffer violence and unrest like we're seeing in Ukraine. Goldline is, of course, a total scam.

The #WalkerDocs show the story of Jared Kellner, a Milwaukee teen who was killed when a 13-ton slab of concrete fell on him in a parking ramp when Scott Walker was Milwaukee County Executive. The ramp was county property, the tragedy was the result of substandard construction, and Team Walker's only concern was the politics. "That was our structure," one email reads. "The headlines are going to be ‘Scott Walker kills 15-year-old.’" "The political concern about blame for the tragedy is clear. Make sure there is not a paper anywhere that details a problem at all," reads another.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel calls on Gov. Walker to talk about the revelations in the #WalkerDocs. "He should hold a news conference to explain how much he knew about a secret email system as Milwaukee County executive," the editorial board writes. "And he needs to let reporters ask as many questions as they want." Right now, Walker's keeping a low profile, apparently hoping the whole thing will blow over. Editorials like this one -- from the newspaper of record in Wisconsin's largest city -- make it pretty clear that Walker's hopes are misplaced.

A Nebraska judges delivers a huge blow to the Keystone XL pipeline, striking down a state law that would've allowed it to run through the state. If it stands, the ruling means the pipeline will have to be detoured around the state, adding more states to the mix. And with more states comes more protests, lawsuits, legislative battles, etc. This one ruling could hang the project up for years. Of course, the finding is being appealed.

Finally, over 1,000 doctors and health care professionals are calling on President Obama to takes steps to limit the health risks posed by fracking. Regulating fracking has been left up to states for the most part, resulting in wildly varying laws protecting (or completely failing to protect) Americans. The EPA could do a lot to level the playing field.

[cartoon via Truthdig]

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